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Archive for the ‘budget’ tag

2014 is the Year to Get Rid of Debt

January 28th, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Since the ball dropped on New Year’s Day, people have been trying to keep their resolutions. Whether that is quitting smoking, losing weight, or just improving quality of life, keeping up with resolutions can be a challenge. Another common resolution is to get out of debt, and 2014 could be the year for it.

eliminate debt IMAGEThe first step to tackling debt is to list all outstanding balances. Include everything that you might owe for your mortgage, student loans, auto loans, credit card bills, or other bills. It is also important to include the interest rates on these bills so that the most expensive debts are dealt with first.

The next step is to track your spending. Using a year’s worth of bank statements and credit card statements, find out what you spend each month. This will let you see which expenses are necessary and which are not. Use this as a starting point in creating a budget that you can live with, and stick to it. That will allow you to trim any wasteful spending and reallocate those funds to getting rid of debt quickly.

While fun activities may be difficult to cut out, they should be the last thing to budget for. Remember that credit cards are not free money, you will have to pay them off and you will be charged interest on any outstanding balance every month. Celebrate your success when you reach milestones so that you will stay motivated to see your plan to the end.

If you have tried all these steps and still cannot get ahead, then it is time for plan B. Maybe you have lost your job, or experienced an expensive illness or injury, or other unexpected event that makes it difficult to get out of debt. Filing for bankruptcy can let you start over financially. Contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio to review your finances today and make this year the one where you get out of debt.

How Payment Methods Influence Consumer Spending Habits

September 14th, 2013 at 10:44 am

multiple credit cards

Americans say that they are spending less money on extras like restaurants, bar tabs and the like compared to 2012.  That is according to a survey conducted by the consumer research team Mintel.  They surveyed Americans about consumer spending habits for thirteen different categories.  The only two categories that consumers admitted to spending more on were groceries and household care items.

This might not be the case according to consumer spending data.  That research has shown that spending has increased for several of the categories surveyed by Mintel by as much as five percent.  This discrepancy could be caused by a small percentage of consumers who have spent more money on luxury and big ticket items.

It could also be caused by the confusion resulting from having so many ways to pay for things.  These days, each consumer has access to multiple lines of credit and multiple choices for paying for items.  There are credit cards, debit cards, pre-loaded cards, cash, checks and many others which can result in a lot of spread out debt.  While it is normally good to have many options, there is one case that it may be better to have only one option.

If you are trying to spend less and save more, having just one account can result in fewer bills to pay.  That is according to a study that was published in the Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes journal.

The study was set up to include over 90 people.  Half of the people were given only one account with a set amount of money to do some online shopping.  The other half was given the same set amount distributed over multiple accounts.  Overall, those people with multiple accounts ended up spending 10 percent more than those with only one account.

It seems that over more accounts, people are able to rationalize their purchases.  If a misperception of your debt has led you to problems with debt collectors, consider filing for bankruptcy.  Contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio who can help you see if bankruptcy is right for you.

Determining Wants vs. Needs while Budgeting

June 13th, 2013 at 12:00 pm

It has been reported that unemployment rates are improving and that people are spending more money than ever. Bankruptcy filings are falling in number in many parts of the country. Even though it seems that Americans are doing better financially, you can ensure continued development by creating a budget. When preparing your budget, you have to determine what the necessities are for you.

Theresa   San Antonio bankruptcy attorneySome basic necessities that must be included are food, shelter, utility service for that shelter, clothing, and transportation. The problem with budgeting these necessities is the degree to which each is carried out.

Everyone needs a place to live. However, a place to live must be affordable within your budget. For example, if you have a small family, you don’t need to have a large home. Instead of spending the additional money on space that you do not need, you can be setting that money aside for savings. This also means that you do not have to have 75-inch television sets in every room.

You also need to have utility service but, that does not mean that you have to have every single channel that your TV service provider offers. Considering a Netflix subscription in place of cable, or opting to open the windows and run fans instead of an air conditioner are responsible options for sticking to a utility budget.

We all need food to survive. This does not mean living on fast food or fancy restaurants is necessary. Fix just enough food to ensure that all of it will be consumed by your family instead of being wasted. You can also shop at stores that are less expensive, such as a store that doesn’t have employees to remove shopping carts from the parking lot or one that does not provide plastic bags for free.

When considering clothing and transportation, again, be cost efficient. You do not have to have a Ferrari when an inexpensive car will do what you need. Secondhand clothing stores are less expensive and often have quality clothing.

The point is to live within your means. Stick to your budget and do not spend money that you do not have to spend. If you find yourself considering bankruptcy, an experienced San Antonio bankruptcy attorney can assess your situation and advise you of the options available to you.

 

Photo courtesy of patpitchaya/freedigitalphotos.net

Strategies for balancing your budget

May 28th, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Lara May1  BudgetWith the economic downturn that took place in the United States over the past few years, some people are still struggling to get back on their feet.  A recent article has listed a few easy tips that could make balancing your budget and getting a handle on debt a much easier task.

  1. Spend extra money on credit card and loan balances.   USAA member Nikki Tracht and her family had been dealing with extreme levels of debt.  One of the things she learned was to start using any extra money on bills and loan balances. With her new system, Tracht makes minimum payments on all bills…except the one with the lowest balance.  Her extra money goes toward that one, so one bill is getting paid off completely at a time.
  2. Selling or returning what you’re not using. Many other members of USAA say that they usually sell their extra unneeded items online, because every dollar you get back counts.  The money earned can go towards your credit card bill and any other unpaid loans.
  3. Freeze your credit-literally.  One member of USAA, Jessica Otieno, found a solution to spending money on things she didn’t need by actually sticking her credit card in water and then keeping it in the freezer.  According to Otieno, “I figure if it’s something I really need, it will be there in a few hours when I need it.  And for now it’s locked out of my mind, so it’s not such an easy temptation.”
  4. Lower your rates.  One strategy that can really add up to a lot of savings is to reduce your interest rates and change your W-4 withholding.  It can sometimes just take a simple phone call to lower the interest rate on your credit card.  You can lower your interest while paying off the debt, getting rid of it even more quickly.  Tracht decided to adjust her W-4s so that she could get more money back each month instead of waiting for an income-tax refund.  She uses this money to pay off her debts more quickly.
  5. Look at your bank statements for any monthly auto-debited financial commitments.  When doing this, it’s helpful to see what you can cancel until you have a handle on your debt.  There are many things you can do without for a short while, such as gym memberships or cable, until your finances are under control.
  6. Don’t spend unless you have it.  USAA member Treva Tribit described how her family of ten has found ways to cut back.  Both her and her husband took on extra jobs and made use of coupons as much as she could.  They also decided to downsize their home and move somewhere that fit their family without being more than they could afford.  By cutting back and being careful what you’re spending, a lot of debt can be reduced.

Although sticking to a budget can help, many people in the state of Texas are battling credit card and loan debts.  If you or a loved one are facing a potential bankruptcy, be sure to contact an experienced Texas bankruptcy attorney to assist you.

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210-342-3400

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